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Children cannot be expected to be responsible from the day they are born. However, one must not assume that they are incapable of handling responsibility till they are teenagers. They will only learn to value their possessions, if you engrain this into them right from a young age. A young child is not developmentally ready to focus on greater good or to understand his role in the family, let alone his role in the society. So it is necessary to take a positive view while your young one is trying to do little things.

His desires lay the groundwork for the behaviour that will make him a responsible teenager. It is best not to overload your youngster with a lot of tasks, instead ask him to perform fewer chores, but make sure he follows through and does them.

Tips to make your child Responsible :


Choose age appropriate tasks : Choose tasks that are not difficult and those that will not overwhelm your child. Children by the age of seven should be handling atleast some task that will require self reliance and dependability for e.g. making his bed every morning, packing his bag for school, taking the necessary equipments needed for swimming, etc. Doing these chores gives the child a sense of responsibility, teaches them cooperation and involves them in family life. The sooner the parents give their child, age appropriate responsibility, the better. Parents can slowly increase the difficulty of the task and the expectation depending on the maturity of the child. For e.g. A two year old should be made to pick up his own toys, as compared to a older child who should help in household chores.


Set a good example : A child imitates his parents, so it is very necessary to be a good role model. One of the best ways to engender responsible behaviour is to be a good role model with your own possessions. For e.g. keeping the books back on the shelf, keeping your house keys in place rather than leaving it on the table, keeping the newspaper at the appropriate place, etc.


Make the job a game : A child learns faster through a play-learn method, i.e. he enjoys doing tasks when they are made to be more fun. He does not view emptying the washing machine as work, but it is considered fun to pull out clothes and put them in a basket.


Establish a routine : Your child will learn to be more responsible if you set a routine for him. Teach him to put his dirty clothes in the basket, help put his toys away after playing, place his shoes back in it's place, etc. He will realize and see that work is a part of everyday life and not something that grown-ups have to do.


Face things in a positive way : Instead of issuing ultimatums, frame things to your child in a positive way. e.g. I will take you to the garden after you put your toys away, or if you clean up your toys, you can go to play. Never try to bribe your child into doing work, as it raises the possibility that he may opt not to accept the bribe, thus he may pass on doing the work.


Give your child space : For the sake of expediency, you may be tempted to clean up his room and get over with the task, however try to resist this urge. Instead, concentrate more on your child's effort on doing it. He may not do a perfect job, but helping him or condemning him will only diminish his desire to help. For e.g. you can tell your child in a encouraging way, "You have done a wonderful job in cleaning your plate, I would like you to put the plates in the dishwasher rather than back on the shelf."


Praise him : Never condemn your child and remember children are going to mess up, that is a part of being a kid. Try not to express disappointment, rather appreciate your child. Positive reinforcement will teach your child that his efforts have been important and are appreciated. Be specific with your praise e.g. "You did very well in putting the toys in the cupboard", as opposed to saying "Well done".


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